Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Pesto Trapanese

I've been feeling rather sanguine lately, in stark contrast to a few months previous. I'm drinking less, exercising more, merely cussing at other drivers rather than actively trying to ram them off the road...

This has not translated into more regular blog posts, though, because I am trying to funnel as much creative energy as I can into a separate project, which has left this blog a little more neglected than usual. This Other Project has me alternately cringing with inadequacy and swooning over my own genius — and by Jove it makes me feel alive. More like I'm doing something that Matters, even though the volume of work involved has given me a bit of a Sisyphean complex.

No matter. When you feel as though you are channelling undiluted, free-range destiny (the personal kind, not the super-hero kind, though really I'm not sure what the difference is, besides a cape), it's the doing that matters. Of course, the outcome is important too — esteem, kudos, money — one likes to think all that shouldn't matter, but it does. Thing is, if you're doing something that really matters to you, doing it simply for its own sake outweighs the (potential) promise of acknowledgment.

Happily, this pesto is a sure thing. Its destiny is very strongly aligned with your dinner in the near future (I have a gift, what can I say?).

I was looking for an alternative to the ho-hum basil version and happened upon this gem, which includes tomatoes and substitutes pine nuts for almonds. So not only is it cheaper, it has a more balanced flavour too.

It's a little hit of summer on a cold night. Use it to coat spaghetti or as a dip for crudités. I used basil, but the mint version sounds amazing too, and I plan to try it soon.

Do you have any lovely 'alternative' pesto recipes? Please share them! 

Pesto Trapanese
[serves 4—6]

350g ripe cherry or baby plum tomatoes
75g whole almonds — soaked overnight, then drained and rinsed [I didn't soak mine]
60ml extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
Several grinds of black pepper
3 cloves of garlic
40g mint leaves (save the stalks for mint tea) or fresh basil

1. Optional: spread the almonds out onto a baking tray and toast in the oven at 180C for 15 minutes, or so until golden and aromatic.
2. Peel and quarter the garlic.
3. Pull the mint leaves off the stalks.
4. Pop all of the ingredients into a food processor/blender and blitz until desired texture is reached. Alternatively use a pestle and mortar, or even a sharp knife to chop and grind the ingredients — the old-fashioned way — before adding in the olive oil.